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What is IVF?

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7 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & Owner Barcelona IVF
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IVF is a treatment in which we’re going to obtain the eggs and inseminate them with a partner’s or donor’s sperm to create embryos. These embryos are going to be later cultured for 5 days until they reach the so-called blastocyst stage. Then we’re going to choose which embryos are going to be transferred and which ones should be frozen.

With regard to the indications, there are many indications to do IVF. IVF is an elective technique for patients with tube problems, patients with endometriosis, patients in which there is a problem with the egg quality because IVF is the only where we can really assess the quality of the eggs and also, of course, in those cases where there is a severe male factor and in which IUI, cannot be done.

It’s important to say that IVF, on top of being probably, the most common treatment in assisted reproduction, can also work as a diagnostic tool. As I said before, it is the only way to assess that certain processes can be done properly, like the egg quality, percentage of fertilization, how many embryos become blastocysts, and their quality. Sometimes, it’s not just that we want the patient to get pregnant, but what also is very important is the information we gather from this treatment to decide how we must proceed later.

Answer from: Harry Karpouzis, MD, MRCOG, DIUE

Gynaecologist, Founder & Scientific Director Pelargos IVF Medical Group
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IVF stands for in vitro fertilization, which actually means a fertilized egg and sperm outside the body, in special culture in the laboratory.

Couples that need IVF are usually couples that the woman has problems with her tubes, which make spontaneous fertilization very difficult. Women who have poor ovarian reserve usually, at the age of more than 40, but of course, this can happen even in younger women. Women have ovulatory problems, which means problems with the ovulation that persist and are not leading to pregnancy with other ways of provoking ovulation.

Women and men, couples with unexplained infertility, which is infertility that cannot be explained by any reason. Usually, the solution for these couples is IVF. The best success rates are happening with IVF. Endometriosis and problems with the sperm, when the sperm is very low, and in which case, we usually use a variation of IVF, which is called ICSI.

Answer from: Guillermo Quea Campos

Gynaecologist, Specialist in Reproductive Medicine Pronatal Fertility Clinics
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IVF is  the joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish. In Vitro means outside of the body. IVF is a procedure where a special medical technique is used to help a woman become pregnant, such as a case where a couple who after one year of active sex without any contraceptive method does not achieve pregnancy. At this moment we have to decide whether to begin any treatment in accordance to the characteristics of the couple or the patient.

Answer from: Santiago Eduardo Novoa, MD

Gynaecologist, specialised in Reproductive Medicine Instituto iGin
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IVF or IN-Vitro-Fertilisation is the treatment finally for any kind of or most of the fertility problems. It includes a treatment for the patient, then we have a live stage where we are going to create the embryos and culture the embryos and then we are going to transfer those embryos into the womb of the patient. It depends on the reason but most fertility problems can be solved by IVF or at least can be treated with IVF like problems in the ovaries (how they are working) or some issues related to cervical infertility. The classic indication for IVF or at least started in that way was when the tubes are not working properly or they have some illness like they are full of fluid. Of course when the spermogram is not great (we don’t have enough sperm that are moving well or the quality in general is not good). Those indications for example are patient that goes for an IVF treatment.

Answer from: Delphine Dewandre, Embryologist

Embryologist, Senior Embryologist Beacon CARE Fertility
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IVF means In-Vitro-Fertilisation which means fertilisation takes place outside of the body. To do it, we need to take out gametes. The gametes for the man would be semen and the gametes for the woman would be the eggs. They would be fertilised In-Vitro – the laboratory. The procedure in the laboratory normally lasts like 3 minutes because this is only adding semen that was prepared to the eggs in the dish. That is IN-VITRO-FERTILISATION.

Answer from: Valentina Denisova, MD PhD Obstetrician Gynaecologist

Gynaecologist, Fertility Specialist Next Generation Clinic
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IN-Vitro Fertilisation is a part of Assisted Reproductive technologies and all assisted reproductive technologies are the methods of treatment of infertility when one or more parts of the fertilisation process is going outside of the human body. In the natural process, fertilisation occurs inside the fallopian tube. In Artificial reproduction, the meeting of the oocyte and sperm happens in the tube, not in the body – it is IVF.
When can we do IVF? First, we need to understand why somebody cannot get pregnant and if our conservative measures cannot help or natural conception is excluded for example fallopian tubes are blocked or they are absent or there are no sperms in the partner semen, we can carry out IVF.
The First step of our program is examination in order to find out indications for the procedure and exclude contraindications. Only then we can start ovarian stimulation, oocyte pick up and then Embryologists start to work with the gametes: they perform fertilisation, cultivation of the embryos.If we wish to carry out PGT, they perform trophectoderm biopsy and then we can perform both fresh or frozen embryo transfer. It all will depend on your personal situation. Here are the main steps of the IVF but in each case the plan of the treatment would be done individually.

Answer from: Elias Tsakos, MD, FRCOG

Gynaecologist, Medical Director EmbryoClinic
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IVF is a procedure in which we retrieve the eggs of a woman, and at the same time, we use the sperm of a man if the woman has a partner or the sperm from a donor sperm bank if the woman doesn’t have a partner or if the partner’s sperm is defective.

We use in vitro fertilization in the laboratory, which means that we facilitate the embryo with the egg fertilization either using the standard IVF procedure or using inter cytoplasmic sperm injection procedure. The fertilization itself is happening outside the woman’s body, but of course, it is normal fertilization and normal growth of the embryo,  we perform the embryo transfer procedure. It is a very straightforward procedure in which the embryo or the embryos are inserted into the woman’s uterus with a very fine catheter.  Therefore, we are maximizing the chances of pregnancy.

About this question:

What is the medical definition of IVF and who are patients qualifying for this technique?

IVF is one of the more widely known types of assisted reproductive technology (ART). How does In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) work? What are the chances of getting pregnant with IVF? How to prepare for IVF and are there any risks involved?

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